Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on April 15, 2009 11:37 AM

1. When in 1957 we became independent the population was only five million. Even after 1963 when Sabah and Sarawak joined the Peninsula to form Malaysia the population was only slightly more than six million.

2. Today Malaysia's population is 27 million. Obviously most Malaysians were born after 1957-1963. Meaning to say they had not known anything but being free, being independent, being ruled by their fellow countrymen.

3. History is not a compulsory subject in our schools. If at all history is taught it is sketchy, not really giving a clear picture of what it was like to be ruled by foreigners, by the British, the Japanese and in some cases the Thais.
4. I am not trying to say that those who lived under colonial rule are more appreciative of independence, although that is basically true. But what we should all be concerned with is that we appreciate our independence and our freedom more, whatever may be our political leanings.

5. Is it wrong for us to look back on the past? Some think it is irrelevant. That was before, this is now. Don't tell us all those stories about the struggles of people gone by. We have always been independent. All our life we have been independent.

6. But I think we should know where we came from. Otherwise we would not know which way we should go. We may think we are going forward when in fact we are going backward, back to where we started. We would not be making progress.

7. I am pleading for the teaching of history. George Santayana, an American philosopher once said; "Those who forget the lessons of history will be condemned to repeat their mistakes over and over again", or words to that effect.

8. How do we know we are not repeating our mistakes now if we do not know of our mistakes in the past. We need to know.

9. We need to know how we came to be colonized. We need to know how we barely managed to escape from being a Communist state.

10. We need to know how our Rulers were forced to surrender their states to the British. We need to know how the British were forced to rescind the MacMichael treaties. And so on, and so forth.

11. Somewhere along we would recognize the mistakes we had made. And knowing them we would be better able to avoid making them again. Our country would continue to grow and prosper.

12. The independent generations have enjoyed the independent country they inherited.

13. Surely they would want their children and grandchildren to inherit the same.
14. And this they can ensure by knowing the history of this beloved country and the mistakes of the past.

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